American ports concerned about funding cuts in Trump budget

American ports concerned about funding cuts in Trump budget
AAPA CEO Kurt Nagle was encouraged by a US$1tn commitment in infrastructure spending

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) is worried about declines for most federally funded port-related programmes in President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget.

Reductions in funding forTransportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery(TIGER) discretionary grants, Harbour Maintenance Trust Fund (HMST) outlays, port security grants and assistance in reducing diesel emissions drew particular concern.

However, the AAPA met the administration’s call to support US$1tn in infrastructure investment over 10 years with approval.

Of the US$1tn, US$200bn would be in direct spending, of which US$5bnwouldbe spent next year.

AAPA president and CEO Kurt Nagle said:” AAPA applauds President Trump’s call to invest $1 trillion into America’s infrastructure over the next decade. The port industry has identified a need of US$66bn in federal investments to port-related infrastructure over that time.

“Ports and their private sector partners plan to invest US$155bn over the next five years alone in port facility infrastructure, and it’s vital that supporting federal investments be made, primarily to improve the waterside and landside connections to our nation’s ports.”

Over the next decade, the AAPA recommends investing US$33.8bn in federal funds to maintain and modernise deep-draught shipping channels.

It also wants US$32.03bn of federal funds to go towards building road and rail connections to ports and to improve port facility infrastructure.

Among the budget proposals for next year is eliminating the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) TIGER grants program, which last year awarded US ports US$61.8m in multimodal infrastructure grants such as dock, rail and road improvements.

Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), which Congress last funded at US$100m and which provided 35 port security-related grants in fiscal 2017, would see funding reduced by 52% to US$47.8m.

President Trump has also proposed cutting the overall Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget by 31%, while the EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants would see an 83% reduction to US$10m.

According to the AAPA, these grants have helped ports to make investments in clean diesel equipment and reduction strategies at the ports themselves, and they’ve used them to help businesses buy newer, cleaner-burning trucks, locomotives and vessels.

Nagle added: “It’s vital that significant federal investments be made in port-related infrastructure. Such investments will pay huge dividends in terms of our international competitiveness, economic growth, American jobs and federal tax revenues.”